Main ecological gradients and landscape matrix affect wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia: Leporidae) abundance in a coastal region (South-East Spain)

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Title: Main ecological gradients and landscape matrix affect wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia: Leporidae) abundance in a coastal region (South-East Spain)
Authors: Arques Pina, José | Belda, Antonio | Peiro, Victoriano | Seva Román, Eduardo | Martínez Pérez, José Emilio
Research Group/s: Ecología Espacial y del Paisaje (EEP) | Cambios Paleoambientales
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Servicios Técnicos de Investigación
Keywords: Kilometric abundance | Landscape | Mediterranean environments | Wild rabbit
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Italian Journal of Zoology. 2014, 81(3): 440-450. doi:10.1080/11250003.2014.922626
Abstract: Landscape analysis with transects, in the Marina Baja area (province of Alicante, Spain), has contributed to establish the influence of different landscape matrices and some environmental gradients on wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mammalia: Leporidae) abundance (kilometric abundance index, KAI). Transects (n = 396) were developed to estimate the abundance of this species in the study area from 2006 to 2008.Our analysis shows that rabbits have preferences for a specific land use matrix (irrigated: KAI = 3.47 ± 1.14 rabbits/km). They prefer the coastal area (KAI = 3.82 ± 1.71 rabbits/km), which coincides with thermo-Mediterranean (a bioclimatic belt with a tempered winter and a hot and dry summer with high human density), as opposed to areas in the interior (continental climate with lower human occupation). Their preference for the southern area of the region was also noted (KAI = 8.22 ± 3.90 rabbits/km), which coincides with the upper semi-arid area, as opposed to the northern and intermediate areas (the north of the region coinciding with the upper dry and the intermediate area with the lower dry). On the other hand, we found that the number of rabbits increased during the 3-year study period, with the highest abundance (KAI = 2.71 ± 1.30 rabbits/km) inMay. Thus, this study will enable more precise knowledge of the ecological factors (habitat variables) that intervene in the distribution of wild rabbit populations in a poorly studied area.
ISSN: 1125-0003 (Print) | 1748-5851 (Online)
DOI: 10.1080/11250003.2014.922626
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2014 Unione Zoologica Italiana
Peer Review: si
Publisher version:
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